Craig Dresang: City Council Candidate
The questionnaire below was completed by city council candidate Craig Dresang. Mr. Dresang will be a candidate in the city council primary election on February 26th.
Seat for which you are running:
2 year city council
Can you tell us a bit about your background, both personally and professionally?
I am a senior-level healthcare executive (vice president for marketing and community development) for Midwest CareCenter, the State of Illinois’ largest nonprofit hospice and palliative care organization with a $30 million budget. For the past 20 years, I have been a senior leader in a range of companies/organizations ranging from ComEd, Wheaton College and Aurora University, and Alexian Brothers. I have also served on the City of Elgin’s Cultural Arts Commission for the past five years, and own two small businesses. My partner moved to Elgin to restore a historic home and have been involved with the Gifford Park Association. I am currently working on a sell sheet, as a volunteer, for realtors, home-sellers and the city to use to attract home buyers to Elgin’s Historic District and businesses to downtown.
Why are you running for Elgin City Council?
My friends and neighbors who know me, and my track record, asked me to consider running. That, coupled with my own desire to see a balanced approach on City Council, prompted me to get into the race. Elgin is so close to overcoming many obstacles that would otherwise hold her back. I want to help the City maintain and find new paths that lead to both high quality of life and strong fiscal management.
What do you view as the major issues facing Elgin in the next few years?
A balanced approach to quality of life issues for residents and business owners. There’s a lot packed into the term “quality of life” including safe neighborhoods, business-friendly tax environment, good use of land and public space, infrastructure, code enforcement, educational and cultural opportunities for all residents including our young people, increasing home values, and continued enhancement of the City’s resources.
Are you generally in agreement with decisions the city council has made in the past few years? Please describe any measures with which you particularly agreed or disagreed.
Yes and no. In terms of fiscal management, the City has generally done a good job, however, I think that we need to search for more creative and bold solutions to move the City forward and enhance a user-friendly business environment. I am troubled by several of the candidates who are not relying on factual data and information in their messaging, especially as it relates to the City’s fiscal management. Three national rating agencies used by both private and public sectors have rated the City of Elgin for its current and outstanding debt. Elgin’s AAA rating is the highest attainable by a municipality. Fitch Ratings gave reasons for Elgin’s AAA rating: “Elgin’s CONSERVATIVE FISCAL MANAGEMENT, extensive financial planning and healthy reserve levels provide ample financial flexibility. The city prudently implemented several new revenue sources in 2012 to reduce dependence on property taxes and declining gaming revenues.” Fitch’s also noted, “Elgin’s property tax rate has been flat for over ten years.” Organizations with top ratings are able to borrow money or issue bonds at much lower rates, minimizing annual principal and interest in the City’s reliance on property taxes — which contributes to the City’s excellent financial position. Some council candidates call this a “troubling trend” I think because they don’t really understand the issues. One even said, “We don’t need brick sidewalks downtown.” Has he talked to downtown business owners and residents? If the sidewalk leading up to your house was in disrepair, would you not want to repair it, or even improve it with a brick walkway if you wanted and could afford it. This is called maintaining and enhancing the value of your home. Likewise, the City has been working to enhance the value of its downtown. It’s an investment.
If elected, what do you expect to accomplish during your time on the council?
To bring a reasoned and balanced approach to city governance. And, to help the City develop and implement action steps that will create a path to a more user-friendly business environment and increased home values.
From a crowded field of candidates, why should voters choose you to represent them on the city council?
My track record reveals a professional who is results-oriented, capable of forging strategic collaborations, and making informed, well-reasoned and thoughtful decisions. I have nearly 25 years of successful senior-level management experience in a range of settings including healthcare, higher education, advocacy, and the electric utility industry. Throughout the years, my work in public advocacy and community development has allowed me to forge strong and lasting relationships with State and local representatives and leaders from a wide cross section of industry. In my position as Vice President for Community Development at Midwest Palliative & Hospice CareCenter, my team has just exceeded its goal of raising $12.4 million to build and open the region’s only world-class hospice pavilion and a community healing garden (a national demonstration site for students studying therapeutic horticulture through the Chicago Botanic Garden). In addition, I come from a family of business entrepreneurs and also own two of my own small businesses, so I understand the role that local government should, and should not, play in helping business to not just survive but thrive. In terms of public service, I have happily served as a commissioner for the City of Elgin’s Cultural Arts Commission, and have volunteered to serve on a number of task forces. I’m also chair of the Mission Grants Committee for The First Congregational Church of Elgin, which I’m proud to say, just granted more than $90,000 to 22 local nonprofit organizations. I care about, and love, this City and I know that I can help make her even better.
What’s the best way for voters to find out more about your campaign?
“My campaign website: http://www.craigdresang.com/
My facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn
My work site: http://www.carecenter.org/about-us/executive-staff/item/1054-craig-dresang
One of my small business sites as an artist: http://www.thirdcoastgallery.net/
My email: firstname.lastname@example.org”